7 Bold Predictions for the Rest of the EPL 2021/22 Season
A lot has happened already this season in the EPL. There have been big money takeovers, big name signings – and Brighton and Hove Albion has come out of the second international break sitting in a Champions League spot.
Strange times indeed.
With so much money concentrated in the top tier of the English top flight, there is a feeling that everything will settle down over the next few months and by the end of the year we will have a more familiar looking Premier League table on our hands.
But there is also no doubt that there will be more big storylines coming out of the Premier League this season. Here are seven of my bold predictions for what might happen over the course of this campaign.
Newcastle Won’t Qualify for Europe
At first glance, this might seem like a strange ‘bold’ prediction, but Newcastle United is now one of the wealthiest soccer clubs in the world after being taken over.
There will be almost limitless money to spend on new players – and head coaches – and it is a fact that EPL fans will have to get used to Newcastle being involved in the Champions League.
Change won’t happen overnight. Steve Bruce was still in charge at the time of writing (but may well have gone by the time this article is published) but there will be little difference in personnel until at least the January transfer window.
It is also questionable what caliber of player will arrive in the New Year – and how much effect they can have on Newcastle’s season at that point.
The fans of the club were obviously overjoyed with the news and celebrated the departure of Mike Ashley even though the new owners come with a lot of moral baggage. On the pitch there are bound to be improvements, but they will not come immediately.
Newcastle will not qualify for any European competition this season – but next year should be a whole different story.
𝘈 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘦𝘳𝘢 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘴…— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 17, 2021
⚫️ 𝗛𝗢𝗪𝗔𝗬 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗟𝗔𝗗𝗦! ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/k9k5JYbLVg
Chelsea Will Win the League
After Manchester City came back with a vengeance last season, and Liverpool had swatted away any opposition the year before, it seemed that there would be a very interesting title race this season for us all to enjoy.
Alongside those two, Manchester United spent a lot of money – including persuading Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford – and Chelsea had just won a Champions League final.
But it is that last club that has taken to the new season in the most impressive manner in my opinion.
Fitting in Romelu Lukaku into the starting eleven has not been as seamless as the first few weeks of the campaign suggested.
But Chelsea is still currently top of the table and Tuchel is beginning to trust all of his squad now as he gets used to the EPL and to the players he has at his disposal.
The title race still looks as though it will incredibly close this season – but it is Chelsea that could finish on top.
Mo Salah Will Win the Golden Boot
I must admit, I originally thought that Romelu Lukaku would walk off with the Golden Boot in the EPL this season after moving from Inter in the offseason.
His goal rate in Serie A – and for the Belgium national side – has been incredible and his close control and shooting power looked set to go into overdrive in the Premier League.
Lukaku started well but has fallen away recently and that has made me amend my top goal scorer prediction. I had initially disregarded Mo Salah, as I thought there were too many other attacking options at Liverpool and that the goals would be shared around too much for him to benefit.
But he has started this season in electrifying form and scores just as many as he makes for his side.
Liverpool is the top scoring team in the EPL this season so far, by quite a way, and Salah has only failed to find the net on one occasion.
Mane, Firmino and the rest of the team have also contributed, but it is Salah that leads the way at the moment. It doesn’t look like he will resume his own personal battle with Harry Kane again this season, but Salah could well be on his way to his third Golden Boot award.
Edouard Mendy Will Not Win the Player of the Season Award
Chelsea is top of the EPL having conceded fewer goals than any other club in the league, apart from Manchester City.
Both those two clubs have only allowed three goals in eight games – and in Chelsea’s case it is largely down to them not giving its opponents a chance to score.
Even when the Chelsea defense is overrun – as it was against Brentford last weekend – there is also the formidable presence of Edouard Mendy to deal with.
The Senegal number one won the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Season in 2021 and equaled the Champions League record of nine clean sheets in a season as Chelsea won the prestigious trophy (with another clean sheet against Manchester City in the final).
There are also a good number of very impressive players in the EPL that might also have a say in who carries off that trophy this season.
But Mendy has been immense for Chelsea this year so far and if the Stamford Bridge club does end up winning the league, Mendy’s performances will have been a major factor.
West Ham Will Qualify for Europe Again
West Ham does not have a particularly impressive European pedigree.
There were a few seasons back in the 1960s when the London club reached finals but some early exits in the early qualifying rounds are all the Hammers have had to enjoy in recent years.
But a steady EPL campaign last year ended in a sixth-place finish – the highest since the 1985/86 season – and was rewarded with a place in the Europa League.
A tough looking group has been successfully navigated so far and West Ham looks as though it could well repeat the trick this season and qualify for continental competition once again.
The Champions League would seem to be just out of reach for David Moyes’ side, but he has got his players looking like a top six or seven finish is a possibility again.
West Ham is fast becoming a member of the second tier of EPL clubs that battle just below the top four, and in Michel Antonio and Declan Rice they have players that can change games.
Another year of European soccer is on the cards in east London.
Leeds Will Be Involved in a Relegation Battle
Leeds has provided some incredible performances since making it back up to the Premier League last season.
However, this year has been more of a struggle for Marcelo Bielsa’s side as it attempts to adapt its style of play to challenge in the topflight, while dealing with a string of injuries to some of its most important players.
The energetic, high-pressing game that Leeds have employed since Bielsa took over has made for some very entertaining performances and has been a breath of fresh air in the EPL. But it does come at a cost.
For all its attacking flair, Leeds conceded far more than any other club in the top half of the league last season and has tended to struggle this season when its more important players are sidelined.
Leeds lost to Southampton last weekend without registering a single shot on target. Both Kalvin Phillips and Raphina were unable to play and joined Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling as frustrated onlookers.
Leeds is still trying to play the same way that got the club to the EPL, but it does look as though a second string starting eleven is more suited to the Championship. That could be a problem this season and Leeds will need to scrap in every game to stay up.
|Leeds United Results 2021/22|
|Manchester United||5-1||Leeds United|
|Newcastle United||1-1||Leeds United|
|Leeds United||1-2||West Ham United|
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Will Leave Man United Before the End of the Season
Manchester United is not a club in the habit of sacking managers. Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season and only Jose Mourinho has left Old Trafford before the end of a full campaign since then.
Neither David Moyes nor Louis van Gaal did a particularly good job in the United hot seat, but they were both allowed to see out their final seasons.
He took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, but wasn’t actually given the job on a permanent basis until March of the next year. That suggests that the club was unsure whether he had what was needed to lead a club of United’s stature – and recent performances have backed up the idea that he is not really up for the job at hand.
United spent a lot of money in the summer, bringing in some incredible talent in the form of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and especially Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the players do not look as though they know what they are doing – with or without the ball – and positive results have come despite of, rather than because of, the tactics used.
Qualifying for the Champions League again might just save Solskjaer’s job. But a second half of the season collapse might hasten his departure from the club.
EPL 2021/22 Season
The EPL is probably the biggest soccer league in the world and there are countless opinions about the players and clubs involved shared by fans every day.
But what do you think of my predictions?
Every moment of the 2021/22 season in the English topflight is scrutinized and picked apart by pundits and fans, but I think these seven predictions could well come true by the end of the current campaign.
Let me know your thoughts below and check out our soccer blog section on our website to stay up to date.